Shipping supplies, eh? Like who knew your childhood dreams of becoming a post(wo)man would come true!?
But running an online shop requires you to take on A LOT of jobs.
Since you’re busy managing logistics, supplies, inventory, ordering, marketing, sales, quality control, etc……….. etc……….! I wanted to put together a business toolkit that helps you navigate the small business resources and supplies you’ll need!
First up, let’s tackle shipping supplies.
If you’re currently buying from your local stores, I’d encourage you to take a realistic look at your sales and be OKAY buying your shipping supplies in bulk. If you plan to be in business for the next 3, to 6, to 12 months, there’s very little risk in buying shipping supplies (since you gotta ship stuff to stay in business) plus you’ll typically save from buying larger quantities from sites like Amazon.
*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase an item I may earn a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thanks for supporting The Shop Files!
Your Small Business Toolkit: Shipping Supplies
Your least fun aspect of business, am I right?
Unless you’re in on the drop ship game, chances are you do a lot of shipping and post office visiting.
So let’s make it a little less painful and get you started with some easy shipping supplies.
PROTECT YOUR GOODS:
Consider how your item will actually transport from point A to point B. Will it jiggle, will it shift, will it booty shake? What do you need to add to keep it looking just as good as when it left your hands.
- Small 6″x9″ Poly Mailer Envelope Bags, 100pk
- Medium 10″x13″ Poly Mailer Envelope Bags, 100pk
- 8″x10″ Cello Bags, 100pk to protect your art or prints
- Cute AF 3″x4″ Cotton Drawstring Bags
- Bubble Wrap to protect
- Tissue Paper (could pick a color to match your branding + don’t forget to seal with a sticker logo or thank you call out)
- Kraft Jewelry Boxes pre-filled with cotton (bonus: grab a branded logo stamp to customize the lids!)
Don’t forget! When packaging art or prints, include some stiff cardboard to keep the item flat and avoid any bending or torn corners.
PACK ‘EM UP:
- Heavy Duty Packaging Tape for dayz
- Until you can buy one of those amazing Crate & Barrel tape dispensers, this is a good option
- These Boxes to fit every shape + need (like this, or like that, or like this, or this cutie) USPS flat rate mailers and boxes can also be really economical, use a scale like this one to determine which would work for you)
- Stamps to tell the post office what to do (and not do) or go with the sticker that covers it all
- Save serious time, money, and headaches with this label printer. It doesn’t use ink, so over the course of time it’ll actually save you money…sweet, right?
These gold foil YAY mailing stickers are too cute to add onto your packages.
DRESS ‘EM UP:
- Kraft Paper Roll – perfect for like everything
- Natural Cotton Twine
- Pretty Twine – in grey, gold, and every color under the sun
- These gold or kraft paper thank you stickers
BRAND ‘EM PRETTY:
I mean, how freaking cute is this.
You should always include branding pieces or promotional offers in your packages! It’s your one physical touch point to wow your customer + leave her with a lasting impression of your brand.
How can you stand out from all the other packages she receives?
- Personalized thank you note (I love getting these!)
- Unexpected free gift
- Pretty packaging and wrapping, wow them with your “un-boxing” experience
Also consider a few actions she can take:
- Joining your email list, what incentive could you tell her about? (hint: I give you 8 ideas here!)
- Following you on social media
- Leaving a review
Materials you might include:
- Business cards or social media cards
- Stickers or stamps
- Custom packaging tape or tissue paper
- Larger note cards to share your story, like a brand mood board + personal story
Getting your shop set up online is the easy part – the hard part is marketing your products so you actually make sales and figuring out how to SHIP those products!
If you sell from one site, each day you need to make a list of your orders, design and print shipping labels, and determine out how to ship each item. If you sell on multiple marketplaces and/or your own site, keeping track of all your orders may quickly become overwhelming.
The good news?
It pulls in all your orders, which you can automatically apply a shipping service preset for each one, and with just a couple of clicks you can print out your shipping and return labels along with inserts and invoices. All you need to do is stick the label on the packages and get them out for shipment. Easy.
You’ll start by connecting ShipStation to the services you use to run your business. It includes integrations with online stores, including Shopify, Etsy, WooCommerce, and more—along with payment apps like Stripe and Square. Next up, add your shipping services. ShipStation includes free integration with USPS via Stamps.com, along with tools to connect your UPS, FedEx, DHL, and other shipping services.
Other ShipStation Features
- Print shipping, postage, and return labels for new orders automatically
- Integrate with popular eCommerce store apps, along with payment and shipping services
- Update your orders and email customers with shipping and tracking info
- Automate which orders to send with which services
- Compare shipping prices to find the best option for your orders
- Customize the shipping experience with your own branding: packing slips and pick lists, confirmation emails, branded tracking page, returns portal, and more.
If you’ll be making a lot of repeat purchases on shipping supplies (and hopefully you are, cha-chiiing!); consider signing up for Amazon Prime. The benefits are seriously worth it. I fought my husband on it for a long time and now we use it for evvverything.
You can set up recurring purchases with their subscribe + save program, where you guessed it – you save by buying in bulk on repeat!
(We love it for household things like toilet paper, paper towels, or dish soap. You know, basic things you hate buying at the store. Anyone else buy those Neutrogena face wipes? They’re like $5-7 for the 25ct; yet with Amazon you can buy them for $19 for a SIX PACK. dirt cheap.)
Plus, the fast + free shipping is a total game changer. We’ve been known to order for next day delivery instead of going to the store same day. 😳
There’s a 30 day trial if you’re not ready to commit quite yet. Try it here.